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Karnataka to hit 10 lakh cases in 3 weeks, may need 50,000 beds: Experts
Karnataka might require 22,500 oxygen beds, 16,800 ICU beds and 11,200 ventilator beds over the next three to six weeks, an expert has warned.
The caution comes as the state is tipped to hit the 10-lakh mark in total Covid-19 cases, and reach a total death toll of 12,800 by November 12, according to an assessment by the Jeevan Raksha project, a public-private partnership that has earned plaudits from the state government for accurately assessing Covid-19 numbers.
As per available government data, there are 10,823 beds in government Covid-19 hospitals. These numbers have been augmented by a few private hospitals. An additional 11,328 beds were available in Bengaluru Urban, as per official data from the BBMP as of October 14. Out of these, 635 were ICU beds and 509 were ventilator beds.
'The higher the Test Positivity Rate (TPR), the higher the demand for critical medical infrastructure. Oxygen supply, ICU beds and ventilators should be arranged based on the TPR in a district,' said Sanjeev Mysore, the convener for Jeevan Raksha.
The state's current TPR is higher than what the World Health Organisation regards as a manageable number.
Sanjeev explained that the projected bed requirements were also made as per the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare data which has determined that roughly 1% of all Covid-19 cases require ventilator support, while 2% require an ICU and another 3% require oxygen support. 'The projections were made considering the expected case numbers,' he added.
Just how plausible are these caseload and toll projections? Jeevan Raksha says the state will see three lakh new cases and 3,000 new deaths in the next 26 days. In comparison, in the 30 days of September, the state registered 2.59 lakh new cases and 2,982 deaths.
Health Commissioner Pankaj Pandey said the government has improved infrastructure in taluk hospitals. 'We are well prepared for any surge. We have substantial numbers of ICU beds with ventilators in hospitals. Even if cases increase, we are prepared to tackle them,' he said.
Another health official told DH that there are sufficient numbers of oxygenated beds at taluk hospitals, but ventilator beds were less common as they require a higher degree of trained staff to handle them.
However, an independent data analyst who did not want to be named noted that there is data mismatch coming out from districts other than Bengaluru Urban. 'In the rest of Karnataka, the number of active cases and daily deaths are falling but ICU use is on the rise. This is unusual,' the analyst said.
The BBMP has acknowledged an ICU and ventilator bedding crisis in the city. In an order issued on October 15, the BBMP commissioner has authorised the Special Officers of the city's eight zonal commands to oversee hospitals with 50 to 100 beds, in order to ensure that they comply with the 50% reservation of beds for government-referred Covid-19 patients.